Campaign reps told to leave Dinkytown polling place

A heated discussion over a voter’s eligibility leads to the dismissal.

Anissa Stocks

One of Election DayâÄôs lone controversial spots was at a precinct located at University Lutheran Church of Hope in Dinkytown. Officials said Ryan Ahlberg and William Wells , representatives of Ward 3 City Council candidates Allen Kathir and Jeffrey Cobia, respectively, were told to leave after a heated conversation over a voterâÄôs eligibility. Minneapolis resident Ted Telitz was turned away after he did not provide proper Minnesota identification to register Tuesday evening. Telitz, who owns a home in Dinkytown, presented a Wisconsin driverâÄôs license, but only Minnesota ones are accepted by law. âÄúI am at fault,âÄù he said. The representatives, who were legally allowed at the polling place, began arguing with the election judges over TelitzâÄôs eligibility. Ahlberg said the argument became heated. Eventually, the chief judge at the precinct asked the challengers to leave and called police to help maintain order. Ahlberg said law enforcement told him that if he tried to enter the church he would be arrested for trespassing. Kathir and Cobia campaign officials said what was going on was a breach of law. âÄúElection judges understand [candidates] have rights to have observers,âÄù Kathir said. Candidates are allowed to have challengers in polling locations and they are allowed to contest voter eligibility, according to Minnesota statutes. However, chief election judges at individual precincts are authorized to dismiss challengers should their conduct be deemed disruptive, interim Minneapolis Elections Director Pat OâÄôConnor said. âÄú[The judge] had challengers who were totally out of line.âÄù